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Seawalls, Revetments &

Seawalls & Dikes
massive structure
primarily designed to resist wave action & prevent inland
flooding from major storm events along high value
coastal property
key functional element in design is the crest elevation
minimize the overtopping from storm surge and wave
either gravity- or pile-supported structures (weight
providing stability against sliding forces and overturning
concrete or stone.
variety of face shapes
Typical Seawalls
Typical Seawalls
Va. Beach Seawall

Virginia Beach opted for a low-crest elevation,

sheet-pile, concrete cap seawall that also serves
as a new boardwalk.
facing of erosion resistant material (stone or concrete)
built to protect a scarp, embankment, or other shoreline
feature against erosion
major components: armor layer, filter, and toe
armor layer provides the basic protection against wave
filter layer supports the armor,
allows water to pass through the structure
and prevents the underlying soil from being washed through the
toe protection prevents displacement of the seaward
edge of the revetment
Revetment & Riprap
The design practice same as for rubble mound
More care should be exercised in filter design.
Application of geotextile filter is common.
Prevent toe scouring, piping, bank instability and
other hydraulically related failure modes.
Grading of the stone must be more tightly
controlled than for breakwater
Typical Revetment
Typical Revetments
Typical Revetment
Typical Revetment
Figure 1, Typical layer arrangement of block revetment

Loose Block

Articulated Mat



Strength H M L L
Elastic modulus H M L L
Strain at failure M M H H
Creep L M H H
Unit weight H M L L
Cost H M L L
Stabilized H M H H
UV light
Unstablized H M M L
Alkalis L H H H
Fungus, vermin, insects M M M H
Fuel M M L L
Detergents H H H H
H = High, M = Medium, L = Low
(A) Fabric sections being sewn together
(B) Fabric being pinned in place

(c) In situ heat welding operation

Armoflex blocks and mat construction

Terrafix interlocking blocks

(A) Interlocking concrete grids serve as base (B) Salt water resistance grass planted on top
for plants
Vertical retaining walls (hold or prevent soil from sliding seaward).
Reduce land erosion vice mitigate coastal flooding and wave damage.
For eroding bluffs and cliffs increase stability by protecting the toe from
Cantilever bulkheads
derive their support from ground penetration;
effective embedment length must be sufficient to prevent overturning.
Toe scour results in a loss of embedment length threatens the stability of such
Anchored bulkheads
gain additional support from anchors embedded on the landward side or from
structural piles placed at a batter on the seaward side.
corrosion protection at the connectors is particularly important to prevent failures.
Gravity structures (rock-filled timber cribs and gabions)
eliminate the expense of pile driving
can often be used where subsurface conditions support their weight or bedrock is
too close to the surface to allow pile driving.
require strong foundation soils to adequately support their weight,
normally do not sufficiently penetrate the soil to develop reliable passive resisting
forces on the offshore side depend primarily on shearing resistance along the
base of the structure to support the applied loads.
cannot prevent rotational slides in materials where the failure surface passes
beneath the structure.
Bulkhead Types
Typical Sheet-Pile Bulkhead
with Anchor
Bulkhead Alternatives
Functional Design
The functional design of coastal armoring
structures involves calculations of
wave runup,
wave overtopping,
wave transmission, and reflection.
These technical factors together with economic,
environmental, political (social), and aesthetic
constraints all combine to determine the crest
elevation of the structure.
Vertical Wall Height Considerations
Reflected wave height
Wave set-up
Storm surge he

Mean high spring tide

Chart Datum
Dredge line
Scouring depth
General Design Procedure
1. Determine water level range
2. Determine wave heights
3. Determine run-up
4. Determine overtopping for low structures
5. Set the crest elevation
6. Select suitable armor & Select armor unit size
7. Design under-drainage features if they are required.
8. Provide for local surface runoff and overtopping runoff, and make
any required provisions for other drainage facilities such as
culverts and ditches.
9. Consider end conditions to avoid failure due to flanking
10. Design toe protection
11. Design filter and underlayers
12. Provide for firm compaction of all fill and backfill materials..
13. Develop cost estimate for each alternative.
Forces on Vertical Bulkhead
main consideration with respect to structural
stability, the stability of water front
retaining walls is concerned with back side
earth pressure and above ground
Forces on Vertical Bulkhead
Static forces:
active soil and water pressures from the backfill
water and passive soil pressures on the
seaward side
anchor forces (when applicable)
Dynamic forces:
wave action and seepage flow within the soil.
(Wave impacts increase soil pressure in the
backfill and require larger resisting passive earth
pressures and anchor forces to ensure stability)
berthing and mooring forces (when applicable).
Forces on Vertical Bulkhead Structures

Design Low Water condition concerns: Design High Water condition concerns:
active earth pressure overtopping
passive earth pressure wave impact loading on structural
residue water pressure components
Lateral Earth Pressures
Active earth pressure
wall moves away from the embankment a wedge of
soil will expand
horizontal pressure exerted on the wall under this
state is known as active pressure, PA
Ka is the active pressure coefficient (= h/ v) and z
is the effective normal stress at elevation z

K a tan 45 - /2)
2 o
= (

PA = Ka z - 2c K a
Lateral Earth Pressures
Passive earth pressure
wall moves towards the embankment a wedge of soil
will compress
horizontal pressure exerted on the wall under this
state is known as passive pressure, Pp
Kp is the active pressure coefficient (= h/ v)

K p tan 45 + /2)
2 o
= (

P p = K p z + 2c K p
Lateral Earth Pressures
z = a z + s
s is the added stress due to surcharge.
a is the effective specific weight of soil,
varies with soil properties, water content and
degree of compaction
computed by
W 1+ w
a = = G w
V 1+ e
Soil Properties
W = weight of soil dry soil specific weight, about
V = volume of soil = water specific weight.
e = void ratio = Vw /Vs .
w = Ww /Ws = water content.
G = specific gravity of dry soil = s /w .
s = approximately 165 lb/ft3, or 2.65 ton/m3.
w = 62.4 lb/ft3, or 1.0 ton/m3.
Multi-layer Soil & Sloped Wall

Sloped Wall Multi-layer Condition

Simple Multi-layer Condition



Pi i


Rupture Angle, = 90 - (45 - /2)

Sloped Wall
w cos
Pa = K ai i h i + cos
cos ( - )

cos ( - )
K ai = 2
sin (i - ) sin (i + )
( )
cos 2 cos( + ) 1 +
cos ( + ) cos ( - )

w cos
Pp = K pi i h i + cos
cos( - )

cos ( - )
K pi = 2
sin (i + ) sin (i - )
( )
cos cos( + ) 1 -

cos ( + ) cos ( - )

Sloped Wall
i = internal soil friction angle in layer i.
= bulkhead angle.
= friction angle between soil and wall.
= surcharge angle.
Ci = soil cohesion strength (undrained shear
hi = soil layer thickness.
i = effective specific weight in layer I.
Sheet-pile Design, Force Balance



L = H + Dn

Sheet-pile Design, Force Balance
Solve for depth of embedment (Dn) by moment balance
moment about anchor point (i.e. moment from T = 0).
If scouring is anticipated the reference level should be
set at the scouring line instead of the intersect of the
original ground with the seawall
Ma D

SF = 1.5, normal conditions
SF = 1.2, special conditions, e.g.
design to larger load
MR but rarer occurrence

Ma; active moment MR;resistance or passive

from the section moment from the section
Determine design force for pile

V(z) = q(z)dz

M(z) = v(z)dz

Q(z) V(z) M(z)

The shear and moment distributions on the wall can be

constructed from the force diagram first by assuming the
wall is rigid with no deflection
q, V and M are force, shear and moment, respectively.
Determine design force for pile
Under ordinary situation, the shear stress can be
The required section modulus of the wall section is then
determined by,
where a is the allowable tensile strength of the wall
Anchor Design
Set Anchor Point -
Optimum is above residue water line (may be on pile cap)
Minimum above MHHW
Higher anchor larger anchor block larger tension

Anchor on cap
Anchor not on cap

Anchor Block
Anchor Block

Anchor Design
Anchor block design criteria:
1. Located as close to the bulkhead as possible
2. Far enough that the full passive earth pressure can be
utilized to resist the anchor pull.
3. The vertical position should be above ground water
level but with sufficient overburden. This is particularly
important when the anchor pull is not horizontal such as
the practice of tying the anchor rod to the cap of the
4. The anchor should be located far enough so that it will
not add loading to the wall.
Anchor Design
Anchor Design

Sand, c = 0 Clay, = 0
Anchor Design
The depth of the anchor block, D, is
determined by equating the allowable
anchor pull to the anchor resistance

FR = ( - ) h + D D
s K p K a
S.F. 2

FR = horizontal anchor pull, or the anchor tension at the set point at the
h = embedment depth at the top of the anchor block.;
S.F. is the safety factor and a value of about 2 or larger is used to account
for the uncertainty of the soil properties.

Since the pressure distribution on the anchor block is trapezoidal, the

connection of the tie rod to the block should pass the centroid of pressure
distribution to minimize anchor rotation.
Anchor Design
the section of anchor block is designed against the stress
induced by anchor rod and earth pressure
the shear stress can be neglected considering only the
bending stress
it is common practice to treat the anchor block as
continuous beam in the horizontal direction and cantilever
in the vertical direction.
The corresponding bending moments are

Mh = Mv =
12 8
Failure Modes
Failure Modes
Failure Modes
Failure Modes
Failure Modes